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I’m Tired of Apologizing for My Blackness’ Sudanese Model Writes Open Letter to the Fashion World

Avatar • Jul 8, 2015
Nykhor Paul during Mara Hoffman Spring 2014 fitting NYFW shot by Emmie

Nykhor Paul during Mara Hoffman Spring 2014 fitting NYFW shot by Emmie Avvakumova

Sudanese model Nykhor Paul has had enough. The 25-year-old beauty, who has walked in runway shows for Vivienne Westwood, Balenciaga and Rick Owens is calling out the industry for treating dark-skinned black models like unwanted stepchildren when it comes to makeup.

Dear white people in the fashion world! Please don’t take this the wrong way but it’s time you people get your shit right when it comes to our complexion! Why do I have to bring my own makeup to a professional show when all the other white girls don’t have to do anything but show up wtf! Don’t try to make me feel bad because I am blue black its 2015 go to Mac, Bobbi Brown, Makeup forever, Iman cosmetic, black opal, even Lancôme and Clinique carried them plus so much more. there’s so much options our there for dark skin tones today. A good makeup artist would come prepare and do there research before coming to work because often time you know what to expect especially at a show! Stop apologizing it’s insulting and disrespectful to me and my race it doesn’t help, seriously! Make an effort at least! That goes for NYC, London, Milan, Paris and Cape Town plus everywhere else that have issues with black skin tones.

Just because you only book a few of us doesn’t mean you have the right to make us look ratchet. I’m tired of complaining about not getting book as a black model and I’m definitely super tired of apologizing for my blackness!!!! Fashion is art, art is never racist it should be inclusive of all not only white people, shit we started fashion in Africa and you modernize and copy it! Why can’t we be part of fashion fully and equally?”

Say that!

Nykhor seems to be an activist at heart. Her organization We Are Nilotic, which works to bring peace among the 64 tribes of South Sudan, won the models.com Humanitarian Award this spring.

But let’s talk for a second about why skin color matters.

I find it very interesting that Nykhor’s comments come a few weeks after Teen Vogue magazine was called out for featuring only bi-racial, light-skinned models in their feature on Senegalese twists — a West African style. The article’s author responded by saying that the definition of blackness is diverse, America is changing, blah, blah, blah… but that’s the thing. It’s not okay if only certain ‘definitions of blackness’ are embraced, while the expressions of blackness that people DON’T like are neglected or erased.

As for Nykhor’s original Instagram post, it’s been liked more than 7,000 times.

View this post on Instagram

Dear white people in the fashion world! Please don’t take this the wrong way but it’s time you people get your shit right when it comes to our complexion! Why do I have to bring my own makeup to a professional show when all the other white girls don’t have to do anything but show up wtf! Don’t try to make me feel bad because I am blue black its 2015 go to Mac, Bobbi Brown, Makeup forever, Iman cosmetic, black opal, even Lancôme and Clinique carried them plus so much more. there’s so much options our there for dark skin tones today. A good makeup artist would come prepare and do there research before coming to work because often time you know what to expect especially at a show! Stop apologizing it’s insulting and disrespectful to me and my race it doesn’t help, seriously! Make an effort at least! That goes for NYC, London, Milan, Paris and Cape Town plus everywhere else that have issues with black skin tones. Just because you only book a few of us doesn’t mean you have the right to make us look ratchet. I’m tired of complaining about not getting book as a black model and I’m definitely super tired of apologizing for my blackness!!!! Fashion is art, art is never racist it should be inclusive of all not only white people, shit we started fashion in Africa and you modernize and copy it! Why can’t we be part of fashion fully and equally?

A post shared by Nykhor-Nyakueinyang Paul 🇸🇸🇺🇸 (@nykhor) on

Ladies, what are your thoughts?

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Rachel
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Rachel

I think you meant to say Teen Vogue, not Vogue.

But I agree with Nykhor’s sentiments.

Indigo
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Indigo

She is GORGEOUS!!!

Mcnb
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Mcnb

Even if they did have the right kind of makeup they still dont know how to use it on your skin tone. Since they almost never work on that type

Ivie9ja
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Ivie9ja

Crazy how in the magazine pics that are beneath the Instagram photo posted she looks like she’s been lightened with graphics… I pray one day skin color will become an irrelevant topic and will cease to exist as a problem because there’s a lot of issues we share as a human race ie cancer, hunger, poverty, mental disease etc that need to be addressed now and judgement and mistreatment of our race as a topic is becoming insane and is causing a lot of division amongst all people…

maralondon
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maralondon

Judgement and Mistreatment of our race has always been there. The modelling industry is no exception.

Elle P.
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Elle P.

Amazing! just amazing! The fashion world and the fashion magazines along with it really need to open their eyes! Clearly this a a double standard.

Marmalade
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Marmalade

Nykhor Paul is so beautiful.

Guest
Guest
Guest

She’s stunning! And her skin is flawless.

Torie Amza
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Torie Amza

Ikr!! She doesn’t even need makeup, unlike the “others”.

EllieLo
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EllieLo

I’m gonna table the racial discussion for a second (because we all know she’s right about that) and jump into the professionalism aspect of it. What you do for one model, you should be prepared to do for ALL models. Whether it’s requesting that models bring their own makeup or do/prepare their own hair before the shoot. I don’t care how “high-end” a brand you are, it REALLY makes your brand look sloppy if you have models walking out of shoots going “I can’t believe I was the only one that had to provide my own make up” or “I… Read more »

Andrea Lewis
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Andrea Lewis

Yes. Exactly!

blackgirllonghair
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blackgirllonghair

You are right. Correcting now.

Elegantbw
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Elegantbw

She needs some radical acceptance of her situation. She entered a field where light skin is prized and its based on looks, what did she expect? I don’t know why black women go into modelling in the first place when no one is forcing them too. Bring your own makeup if they arent prepared or you won’t work. Everyone has career challenges, this is so trivial. Its not like she has to pay thousands for school or something. Im kind of tired of models complaints, its not like they make the world go round.

EllieLo
Guest
EllieLo

“I don’t know why black women go into medicine in the first place when no one is forcing them to. I don’t know why black women go into Corporate America in the first place when no one is forcing them to. I don’t know why black women go into (ANY & EVERY CONCEIVABLE PROFESSION) when no one is forcing them to.” Because people want to make a living on their own terms? Because if this profession claims to be open to all races across the spectrum (as so many brands ‘claim’) then they should be prepared to deal with all… Read more »

Reina Benoir
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Reina Benoir

You’re completely missing the point. The makeup artists are supposed to be professionals who can do a whole range of makeup. It can be done. It is unacceptable to allow professionals to get away with this type of incompetence. You wouldn’t accept the work of a painter you hired to paint a rainbow who only works with warm colors on the color wheel and refuses to even carry other colors or work with them. That’s ridiculous yet we’re supposed to accept this kind of nonsense with a makeup artist? It can longer be considered acceptable to have a makeup artist… Read more »

Ugonna Wosu
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Ugonna Wosu

What a defeatist rational. Just say you’re not interested and move on. Your attitude is not the kind that brings about change. I don’t care if it’s bubble gum creation, modelling or medicine, any field that experiences change makes it easier for another field to do so. Any field that has discrimination is a symptom and continuation of the problem, and makes it ok for other fields and society to have discrimination .

JS
Guest
JS

I don’t think you know exactly what you are talking about, I AM A MAKEUP ARTIST and when it comes to doing makeup, I have tone of makeup from the darkest skin tones to the whitiest to the most yellowish tinted skin tones. i do makeup on a large scale and if I have a client who just walks in and I don’t have a color to match their skin tone (which is rarely), you better believe I am going out to buy makeup to fit their skin tone. And it is like this you can’t buy one shade of… Read more »

kaydenpat
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kaydenpat

Good for her for speaking out. Hope she’s not blackballed for being vocal about the model world’s anti-Blackness.

Jianju
Guest
Jianju

Supermodels. Heh! Nothing super about them… spoiled, stupid little stick figures with poofy lips who think only about themselves. Feh!

EllieLo
Guest
EllieLo

You get points for that Edna Mode reference!! XD

Torie Amza
Guest
Torie Amza

SPOT.ON.SISTA!!! They don’t need to forget where they came from!!

Dee
Guest
Dee

I’m sick of racism within the fashion industry. I really wonder who’s responsible for hiring makeup artists who don’t know how to do makeup for black models.

$8319184
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$8319184

she is drop dead gorgeous. That bone structure, those lips!

Elle
Guest
Elle

It’s time to stop preaching and start fighting back.

Real fashion magazines — chic, edgy, subversive — that compete with Vogue and W need to be created. Not the lazy, middle-aged, churchified, Macys, safety of Essence and Ebony, nor the hyper-urban, grammatically-challenged, sleazy garbage of other magazines featuring Black faces. Black people spend billions, we can surely create, own, run and sustain mags featuring 50% and more Black bodies, Trace magazine used to be a great example.

asha
Guest
asha

I would never purchase Essence. I agree with Elle, if there were a real magazine honoring and adoring black beauty and issues I’d subscribe in a heartbeat.

Savona Bailey
Guest
Savona Bailey

I think this model should go to all of these cosmetic companies that cater to women of color and be their PAID spokesperson. Talk about affecting the industry — that would.

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